Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lies from UK government re increasing education funding

I have been studying with the OU for four years and recently completed my studies. I am thankful for the chances I had, but it seems our esteemed government is determined to ensure that funding for university should be cut.

I got the below letter some days ago, and thought it should be shown to anyone who cares to read how our government is lying and is determined not to ensure we have a more educated population, but the opposite.

As it also says below, there are things that can be done to show the government one is unhappy with the proposals. I did number 1, tried number 2, to only be told that because my local MP is a minister, he can't sign Early Day Motions. That smacks of stupidity and it also shows how little he cares that the people he represents actually are well educated.

What concerns me is that, if they are suggesting cuts now, and we haven't even started with hard economic times yet, then things are really going to get a lot worse. This government has shown itself to not be one for increasing university education, but the opposite. They now ensure that students leave university with a larger debt than ever. It is a case of 'I am alright Jack' for them, they got their degrees when they were free, and now it is time to pull up the drawbridge and stop anyone else joining.

Please read the letter below and if you value a higher education for all, then please sign the petition and do lobby the local MP, even if you get the same crappy response I got.

Message from the Vice-Chancellor on funding cuts announced by Government

I am writing to give students an update on the funding cuts announced by Government that will see The Open University receive less money to fund our operation.

What has happened?

The Government has announced that, as of the next academic year, it will no longer be funding students in England and Open University students in Northern Ireland taking any Higher Education qualification that is equivalent to, or lower than, one they already hold. These students are being referred to as ELQ (Equivalent or Lower Qualification) students. This decision will have major funding implications for The Open University as ELQ students represent a substantial percentage of our student numbers.

There are some exemptions to the new draft policy including initial training for teachers, nurses, social workers and all foundation degrees. But we are convinced that across the sector the higher fees that institutions may have to charge will deter many graduates from university-level professional development. In our opinion discouraging institutions and students in this way runs counter to the Government’s priority to re-skill the nation’s workforce – a priority that we entirely support and currently excel in delivering.

How does this affect The Open University?

We stand to lose a significant part of our teaching grant. This decision will be phased in over three years to help institutions adjust to the reduced income. The details of the exemptions and the implementation are subject to a consultation with universities which will end on 7 December 2007. With only a short time left before the consultation closes I am writing to ask you to support our campaign.

I want to reassure you all that we are working to minimize the effect of the policy change on the University and its students. We are trying to get the policy reversed and we need your assistance to help convince the Government to change its mind. We believe we have a strong case but need your support to help take this argument to Government.

How can you help?

There are two quick and easy things that you can do to help support The Open University campaign:

1. Sign the Downing Street Petition - The Open University Students Association has tabled a petition on the 10 Downing Street website. Adding your name to this petition helps draw our issue directly to the attention of the Prime Minister: petitions.pm.gov.uk/ELQFunding/

2. Write to your local MP asking them to sign Early Day Motion 317 on The Open University. Mr Mark Lancaster MP and Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, the two MPs who represent the OU’s base in Milton Keynes, have tabled a cross-party motion in Parliament that MPs can add their names to. Using the website www.theyworkforyou.com you can write to your local MP asking them to support this motion opposing the funding cuts.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blew it

It is the day of the result for my OU course. Sadly the result isn’t what I hoped for and I feel I worked so hard for. If I am truthful I am feeling extremely gutted and disappointed by the result.

For me I had hoped to get a second class honours, and I ended up with a third class honours. Okay this is my second degree and as I am told I should be proud to have achieved what I have given I was doing it part-time and I had a lot of other pressures one wouldn’t have expected to have in the course of a 4 year part-time degree, but there is still that overriding feeling of having not achieved the minimum I set for myself.

I know others feel pleased and happy for me, but it like that feeling I suppose when you work so hard for something, you feel there is a minimum payback for all the effort and through the course know your work is good enough for a second class, and you fall at the final hurdle. It leaves you feeling bruised and battered.

One had also hoped to put this on one’s CV in the future, but I know how the businesses would see it, a third class to them, even when done part-time and as a second degree is not worth anything, just like they see anything below 2.1 as nothing.

It just leaves a bad taste for me, all the hard work and not as much to show for it as one had hoped.

It also makes me wonder if I should pursue an MSc in my first degree or not, would I make it against this background of the past four years. I know I still have to save up first for the course, but am I academically strong enough to ensure I get a good mark.

Arggh, just feel shot down for it. If anyone has been in the similar position, please tell me, how you approached it from this point in.

Not the Christmas present I was hoping for.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It is that time of year

When I have my exam.

My OU exam for DD303 and it is on the 18th. I am nervous, it is the last exam I will sit for the degree.

Of course I want to get the best grade I can, I already know that I will achieve no higher than 2.2 even if I get a 1st in DD303, sadly too many problems have plagued me on the course, namely being a sleep problem which is getting worse and worse to the point where memory is nearly non-existant.

I have been revising hard like any person does and tonight is the last of the revision, want to relax the brain the night before the exam. Even doing mindmaps hasn't helped a great deal.

I guess it is all or nothing now, and I will either get my 2.2 or a 3rd class hons. Whichever I get, it will have been hard work, and certainly proved to myself I can still study some 10+ years since I left university the first time.

I know for sure now that I will go on and do a masters in my first degree subject, just need to find the money. Masters don't come cheap - £5/6K for a 2 year part-time course, shame there isn't much assistance in funding for those who are disabled, you would think there would be more help.

Anyway, 18th here I come, morning exam, which suits me better and then I can relax and chill and breathe out from all the work done.

4 years of hard work culminating in this.

For all those who are to sit the exam, good luck, and hope you all do as well as you want/need to do.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Prime Minister Brown again showing contempt for the English

Here are two quotes from PM Brown

“We will do nothing to put the union at risk” - Gordon Brown

“We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount”. - Signed by Gordon Brown

As you can see they don’t go hand in hand, they clearly contradict each other.

To top it off, the following happened yesterday at Prime Ministers Question Time.

PM - “We will do nothing to put at risk the Union.”

Mr.Cameron - said: “Neither you nor I has the right to vote on hospitals, schools or housing in your constituency (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) or in other parts of Scotland.

“Yet you are able to vote on hospitals, on schools and housing in my constituency (Witney).

“We have two classes of MP already.

“The only effective way to solve this problem is to give MPs in English constituencies the decisive say on issues that only affect England.”

The Lib Dems leader - Sir Menzies Campbell told the Commons that “once devolution is properly established in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales” voting by the MPs from the nations was “an issue which simply cannot be dismissed.”

So clearly the Lib Dems and Labour, don’t simply get it. I wonder why. Mr.Brown clearly doesn’t get it that we already have two classes of MP and that this situation is going to get worse and worse with him at the helm.

I do hope all those in English constituencies will ask their local MP why it is they have done nada, absolutely nada to correct this, and are happy for England to be broken into regions as Mr.Brown wants.

Friday, June 29, 2007

This sums me up so well

Apologies go to MB from London who wrote the following on clive james article on the bbc website, for taking this, but I feel it really does sum up so well what a wonderful way to live life. I think it deserves to be shown more, and you can only wish people had a more visionary view like this!

I read an article recently that stated those people who are happy and joyful all the time are self-deluded - they see themselves as more attractive and powerful then they really are, see themselves having mroe effect on the world then they really do. Those of us who are cynical, miserable and depressed are that way because we see the world as it really is - we don't belive the happy politicians lies, we don't trust anything or anyone until they've actually done what they said they were going to do, we see exactly how little influence we have the world around us, and no matter how clever the advert is, it's not going to persuade to upgrade our phone/car/internet connection until we've read that indepth consumer report. We're not cynical, depressed misery-guts, we're clear-sighted, perceptive visionarys. So there.
MB, London

I am a visionary, lovely tag, maybe psychologists will use that instead of you are depressed, you are a visionary.

What we are in for with Gordon Brown

As those who read my blog regularly, you will know I have taken to being for the campaign for an English Parliament and how my hatred of this current government who do their level best to ensure that they are not listening to the people who elected them.

There is a wonderful website Campaign for an English Parliament which is doing this campaigning and pushing very hard to get someone out there to listen, especially the media, which is doing its level best to ensure they give it the minimal coverage possible, whereas when the Scots wanted their own parliament they were covering it extensively.
Anyway, on to the main point of this entry.

Gordon Brown must drop his claim to being Prime Minister of the UK as he signed the declaration of the “Scottish Claim of Right”, which says he will put the interests of Scotland before all other considerations.
As any intelligent person will know, these two don’t go together.

So the question is begged, did Gordon conveniently forget this oath he signed, or is England and the rest of the UK in for even more of the Scottish bias that exists in this government.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Embarrassing Brits abroad

This week it was reported in a number of places about a nude stag who was jailed in Slovakia and then got the British consular officials to get him freed therefore circumventing the local laws.

Stupid Brit Abroad

Other comments on this.

The man, if you can call him that – Stephen Mallone, managed to decide it was a good idea to parade himself naked in a fountain in the centre of Bratislava, all supposedly in the spirit of a stag night. Really????

What wasn’t told in our papers, but was in the Slovak and Czech papers was that the person in question was masturbating in the fountain, and it has been suggested they might have broken monuments, etc in the town. That is criminal damage, and the laws that govern Slovakia mean that you spend time in jail.

If that was done here in the UK, they would be locked up for indecent exposure and if they did break monuments as had been suggested, then it is criminal damage.

Why is it that when Brits go abroad they think it is perfectly acceptable to do what they please regardless of the local laws. Even despite the fact they flouted local laws, they are breaking laws that apply to the same things here in the UK.

The fact it appeared in Slovak and Czech newspapers and on their TV as well show just how stupid this moron is. The Slovaks should have told the British consular to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. This moron is the type of person who gives the Brits a bad name abroad, and I am tired of locals abroad assuming I will do the same because I am English, not acceptable. And plus why should I have to pay for moron like this to break local laws and have the British taxpayer get them home and free them.

They should have made an example of this twat, if we had Slovaks here doing that, they would have rightly locked up and the press here would have made some snide comments about Eastern Europeans rampaging our cities.

The aforementioned Stephen Mallone, had a £20K wedding planned and was going to miss it. I think if he had missed it, it would have served simple justice and given anyone else who might be thinking to do the same thing when abroad notice that it is unacceptable to be such a prick when abroad. He should have his passport taken away from him.

The sad thing is he was let off and why when he should have stayed in jail.

Just wish there was a way to stop these chavs behaving like this. We really need a reality check when our Foreign Office is saving people like this.

For those who understand Slovak, here is the story in Slovak

Caused quite a stir

Caused quite a discussion as you can see when you click on here

Slovak Discussion of this

Monday, May 14, 2007

Phonak Savia problems

For those of you who have read this blog for a while will know I have Phonak Savia hearing aids, and had them since last year, but what you might not know is that they have been out of action since 16th Jan this year, and even though I got them back on Saturday, they are still out of action, as one is broken and they both aren't set as should be, so still without the aids.

The company in question who have been screwing up a lot is DiscountedHearingAids, this company have for the past 4 months felt it is appropriate to do nada, seriously, it tooks the best part of two months before I got the address of where to send the aids for repair. Phonak of course, but without a name and address, how could I send them.

I will go into more detail on another entry, as time is short, and that entry will be a long litany of mistakes and errors, which make it seem like a keystone cop movie.

The thing I wanted to highlight was, the audiologist at Discounted hearing told me the reason my aids might have been jumping programs was according to Phonak because I might live near power lines and magnetic fields. I was surprised, very. Being me I didn't believe it, so I rang up Phonak direct, guess what, it is true.

If you have a program setting on, and it is on by default according to Phonak technicans, for the phone, it will jump programs when a magnetic field is passed over the aids. This is so it changes to the right program for a telephone.

You know what, in my case, I know that wasn't the issue. But doesn't someone see this as real problem, given the amount of magnetic fields that exist in everyday life, from shops, public transport, etc. Surely that is a fatal flaw in the design of the hearing aid. Surely Phonak aren't that stupid to do that, but it seems they are.

As for my hearing aids, I am seriously doubting if I will ever get use of them again. They are in my hands, broken elbow on one and I am not using aids I can't hear with. It has gotten so bad, that I have been forced to contact Consumer Direct, who are backing my situation. Great to hear, I only wish Access to Work would do the same. They have basically washed their hands of the situation and say it is down to my employer to resolve. They are happy to spend thousands of UK taxpayer money, and then sit there and do nothing as the company they chose, not me, refuses to provide a service as is set out in the 1979 Sales of Goods Act.

I am so in need of break, and thankfully I am getting one. Thanks to the generousity of Z, we are heading to Cyprus for a week, so if you know places to visit there, please say, all ideas welcomed.

Hopefully I will come back less stressed, and ready to hear again, though I doubt it, since I have spent 4 months chasing these muppets.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Harrow Council helping you be green, Yeah right!

I give you a tale which I am beginning to see as typical, not just for Harrow Council, but most councils and government agencies in this country, and despite the rhetoric, they certainly can't back it up.

A person I know told me this

Last October I applied for Solar Panels to heat my water, I had a visit from a person who measured up to see if we were suitable & seek permission from the Planning department. I got a letter dated 20th December to say someone will carry out a survey on 3rd January to submit drawing to the Planning department for approval.

This approval was given on 19th February according to the Harrow.gov web site.

I telephoned the Sustainable Energy Project Team on 13th April because I have not heard anything and left a message to telephone me. I telephone again today & spoke to a girl/lady who tells me they have just got the list of people whose planning approval has come through and will be sending me a letter and application form for me to fill in by the end of the week. I am to fill this in & send it back with a cheque which when they get it; they will then order the parts. It takes two weeks for the parts to come in. It will then take another two weeks to fit me in their delivery/installation program.

All in all from October 2006 to possible fitting of panels in June/July will take 9 months!!

So much for things happening fast!!? Think of the money I could have saved if they had got their act together!

So as you can see, Harrow certainly don’t make an effort to sort things out fast, and then to make it worse, they have the audacity to say that people need to do more, and when the person above tried, this is what they got.

So much for being green Harrow, and Harrow is supposed to be a leading council in being green, I think if that is the case, we are screwed.

Friday, April 06, 2007

OU DD303

This course is my final course on my BSc Psychology, so with any luck I will be walking away in November of this year with another degree to my name, to add to the BSc Software Engineering I have back from 1995.

When you look at the two degrees, they really don't have anything in common, and are from wildly different areas of life.

I still think that in the future I might use my BSc Psychology in practice, but I think for the time being that will be on the back burner.

This course DD303 is a cognitive psychology course, lots of stats, lots of SPSS, which don't really interest me that much and so far I am finding the course like treading through treacle, bloody difficult.

By the end of the year I will be taking a break before embarking on more studies.

I found out that to go any further with Psychology one needs an MSc, which means more money and lo and behold not something I have much of to be honest. I also found out that the MSc for Psychology is more expensive than for Computers. So in my desire to upgrade my taught skills to a higher level, I will embark when I get the money and that could be a way off at the moment on doing an MSc in Computers. All to help me further ones career and skills.

So if anyone finds a spare £5K lying around, I would happily take receipt of for you and put it to good use ;o))

Flamenco Dance Lesson

Tonight I am going to a flamenco dance lesson.

This is going to ensure hilarity, especially for Z, as she has never seen me dance. I have done very well to keep my lack of dance skills hidden for a long time, but after prodding and finding that Z would like to really do something like flamenco or salsa, I found a place that is offering a free lesson tonight, so we are off on Good Friday to have a nice time out. Well I am hoping that is the case, I know with my two left feet and knobbly knees, I am unlikely to win any prizes for dancing.

I am hoping the place holding the dance lesson will be able to take my rendition of what I am being taught, without kicking me out, or laughing so hard.

I am not sure what Z is expecting from me, I have warned Z that I am not classed as a dancer in any manner or form, and that to expect so would be to lead to disappointment.

I guess by tomorrow we will know whether I can show my face in public again or have to hang my head in shame because of my two left feet.

Online Focus group

Last Sunday I for the first time did an online focus group. It was an odd experience to say the least. I got paid of course, which is always a good thing, but it was certainly very different to anything I had done before and you certainly get very different views on a single subject, which surprised me, though with me doing a psychology degree, I shouldn't be that surprised.

It started late for those who arrived late, there is always one or two, or three in this case....

We were asked about a supermarket and their marketing and how believable, etc we found it. Oddly enough most of us were very cynical in what we were reading to start with, by the end though; most had changed their position and were believing more. Though whether that translates to more sales for this particular supermarket who knows.

I will do it again, it wasn't too bad, and for the reward I got, worth it. An hour or so of my time and an hour I possibly wouldn't have been productive doing anything else, so why not.

If you get offered the chance and can do these things, do it, even if you only do it once, it is worth it

Changing Mobile Number

I in the past week changed my mobile phone, which for me is very unusual, especially as I had the previous one for about 18 months and the one before that for about 4 years until it broke. I moved over 3, which despite the problems my other half has had with them offered a £15 a month for life deal as long as I don't change the price plan, easily done for me. Thus saving me money on the PAYG I had with vodafone.

Well 3 did what they always do, not follow the sell they have on their website, I got no memory card as they claimed I would, though after complaining, they credited the account with the money so I could buy one, too right in my mind.

What I didn't do that was clever was to notify those who needed to know that I changed my number in a good manner. I managed to send a text saying my number had changed, but didn't say who I was, ensue masses of texts asking who the hell I was. I have no idea why I didn't put my name until afterwards, but I didn't, must have been half asleep, but when people realised it was me, plenty of laughs, etc as to how I managed to screw up what is a simple operation.

So if you do change your mobile phone and number, don't do what I did, be a clever person and add your name to a text.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

Well, another year has rolled by, I am now 34.

It doesn't really seem to have much effect anymore, the number I mean. I certainly don't feel any different and I should stop expecting to feel so too.

Got really nice gifts from Z, very surprised and I have to say Z is determined to make me look very smart and well dressed, so 3 new shirts from Paul Smith and D&G, plus 2 new ties to go with that, a lovely Paul Smith belt and a nice top as well. Very lucky me, I think Z got me a lot, but not going to complain, going to wear all this stuff. At least Z makes an effort to upgrade my wardrobe more than I can ever do, something I am seriously crap at doing. So very glad Z can do it for me.

This year is going to be an interesting year for me.

I will finish my OU degree in Psychology by October. Though I wish to carry on and get a MSc, I will have to leave it for a while, as I don't have 5K needed to undertake it.

I will be spending 3 weeks in Malaysia seeing family in November. Also be lucky enough to have another holiday at some point before then.

I know a lot will happen this year, it still doesn't feel like I am 34, mid 30s, never thought I would be saying that, seems very strange, very strange. I am awaiting the pouch to go with the middle age spread, worked hard to stop it, but it is like Canute trying to stop the tide, not going to happen....

Anyone else out there whose birthday is today, I wish you the best for the coming year.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Desire for an English Parliament

I have of recent been standing more and more for this and getting more vocal as you might have seen from the posts I have been posting.

In this country – England, there is an increasing call for an English Parliament to correct the wrongs created by the devolution that has occurred at the hands of this Labour government which for some reason wants to destroy what England is and it stands for.

I have said before and many others are increasingly seeing it the same, we English are tired of funding the Scots having it all. Why should they benefit so much from the Barnett Formula

Which gives them so much more than we English get, and for no good reason. And to top it off, their MPs in the UK parliament can have a say on the education and health system of the English, but no English MP can do the same for the Scottish, and even the local MP for the Scottish constituency can’t have a say on those matters.

It comes under the West Lothian question

Got to say it is great that Wikipedia has answers for this, so if you are unsure about it, this describes it in very basic terms.

Current situation

The question is twofold:

How can it be right that MPs elected to Westminster from Scottish constituencies have no ability to affect the issues of their constituents which have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament and

If power over Scottish affairs is devolved to a Scottish Parliament, how can it be right that MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the UK Parliament will have the power to vote on issues affecting England (including those that don't affect Scotland), but English MPs will not have the power to vote on Scottish issues

It creates the following.

Borrowed from the CEP website

If the Commission will set up a Commission to investigate the way in which a member state is discriminating against its citizens on the basis of their nationality: namely the UK Government denying, for example, the English equal rights with the Scots and the Welsh in that the English suffering from bone cancer are denied the drug Velcade whereas the Scots receive it free; the English suffering from Alzheimer’s are refused the drugs Aricept, Reminyl and Exelon whereas the Scots are prescribed them free; the English have to pay University tuition fees but the Scots do not; the English who are elderly must pay for residential care yet the Scots do not; and the English pay for NHS prescriptions whereas from April the Welsh will not.

English Rights

There was even a petition to the Number 10 e-petition site, and the response was typical of this government

English Parliament epetition reply

Then there is an Early Day Motion, EDM670 - English Parliament , which I then asked my local MP to support given that the increasing number of people want an English Parliament.

Here was his response

Dear Mr.X

Early Day Motion 670

Thank you for your recent email.

I do not support the above EDM at all - all MPs are elected as UK MPs, not from separate countries or regions, and to represent their constituency interest in the UK Parliament. I sat on the Greater London Act committee, a matter of arguably no concern to non-London MPs, but on the logic of the EDM, all MPs not sitting for London seats should have been excluded from voting on the important principle of who governs our capital city

I do not accept that the UK Parliament should be balkanised in this way

Thank you for contacting on this issue

Yours Sincerely

Tony McNulty MP

As someone else said to me, balkanised!!
If he doesn't want balkanisation, then why balkanise the funding??! What a weak response. Plus what concern of it was to those outside of London, how London should be run. It explains why London has been continually screwed by this government, and why London is continually bled dry. And they deny that London has 3 of the poorest boroughs in the UK

So where do we stand now. No closer to what we deserve, which is to be treated as an equal partner in this union, as well as the same basic rights given to the other countries in this union of UK. Also bear in mind, England is the only country in the EU that doesn’t have its own parliament, and that is 50 million people without fair representation.

Information re the state of NHS Audiology departments

Today I had an appointment at my audiology department with regards to my hearing aids and it was a follow up appointment to see how I was getting on with them – I am not, they are awful. Oticon Spirit III really don’t work well with me, they just don’t. Too much black and white, no middle ground, which is where my ears operate best.

What I learnt has really angered me and shows this government to be nothing but a pack of liars and have actually made audiology departments worse since they came to power and we are still waiting to have a national standard of what to expect from audiology departments.

Before I go any further, I should say that this is not directed at the staff in the audiology departments, this is directed at the politicians who think they know better than those on the ground in the NHS, as well as those in the finance departments of the NHS who are happy to ensure those using NHS audiology departments don’t get a service they are deserved of.

In the past, audiology departments had to fit people with hearing aids and fitted them with aids that best suited the person, and if they didn’t have one that did the job, they would then be allowed to take the person private to ensure they got aids that were of use to them to allow them to live a decent life.

Now, the following occurs. The manufacturers produce a list of what aids they are offering and the NHS audiology departments are then told to pick one out of maybe 5 options, and they will get a batch of those, and those only. So the audiology department has to chose what they think will serve the majority of their patients. Now anyone who has ever worn a hearing aid will tell you, what is good for one, doesn’t mean it is good for others. I am a case in example, what suits me won’t suit my brother or other members of my family and they even have a very similar hearing loss to mine, as well as the peaks, etc on the charts, to make it look like they are the same.

So for the likes of me and maybe others in my position with profound hearing loss, the departments have maybe one option of a hearing aid to offer and if that doesn’t work, then tough, go private is the response. The audiology departments’ hands are tied by this stupid rule of the finance departments as well as the politics of this inane government which loves micro managing everything in this country, as they can’t bear to accept others might do a better job than them.

There should be a rule in this country that the politicians should have to use the same services as the rest of us and then would experience what we experience. And as you will see from postings following this, they really have no idea what the general populous want and desire for them to do. To say they are a bunch of self serving jackasses feathering their own nests, is polite, I dare like to say what I really think

Can anything be done, sadly not, unless we vote this current bunch out and replace them, and as much as I hate to say it, the NHS was in a better state under the last Tory government than it is now. Right now it is about to collapse and Labour are happy to sit there watching it die.

Well done Indianapolis Colts

Yesterday was the day of the Super Bowl, and the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears were playing.

I stayed up like more and more people are doing in the UK to watch the game live. I am sure my neighbours really appreciated me having my TV up loud at 3am in the morning as I watched the game.

The game was quite good, and despite the numerous turnovers, partly due to the nervousness of the players and the continued rain that they were playing in, it was a good game to watch. I knew the Colts were favourites, but the way the Bears got going was a surprise, I didn't expect them to make such a jump out. But as before the Colts pulled their way back, and finally nailed the Bears and put them down.

Just glad I had the day off, otherwise I am not sure I would have survived the day at work on just over 2 hours sleep.

Plus the announcement that there is to be a game at Wembley is great news for all the fans here in the UK, one can hope that there isn't a screw up with the stadium, otherwise a major embarrassment for us. I have already signed up the list that is requesting tickets, just hoping I get some.

Roll on 28th October 2007, and hopefully my Cowboys will do better next season.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all and I wish you the best for 2007.

I haven't made any New Years resolutions, I find that I would probably not make them. I prefer the idea of trying to change myself and make myself a better person without making it a New Years resolutions.

This year,

I desire to visit the gym more often, to try and keep the pouch I have as minimal as possible.
I desire to ensure I keep a good work life balance, and try to ensure I leave work at work
I desire to give my best for my last year of my OU Psychology course
I desire to be more together emotionally and mentally. Find a way to cope with anxiety better.
I desire to be better at returning emails and keeping in touch with those I know, especially those I have known for a long time.
I desire to be better with money and know more of where my little bit of money goes! Alvin Hall - help!
I desire to get a proper nights sleep, for the first time in a long time.
I desire to have a proper diet, hoping I can find a good balance of sweet, nice food, with the healthy food.

Will I do the above, I guess Jan 2008 I can make such a judgement. For those who have made resolutions, good luck in keeping them. A new year allows people to try new ideas and new processes, so keep going and all the best

Enjoy 2007

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hope you all enjoyed Christmas

I had a wonderful Christmas, I was very fortunate to have such a great Christmas.

I had most of my family with me and Z this Christmas, celebrating Christmas. I went to church for the first time in many many years, to celebrate in the European style. That was a very different experience and wasn't as bad as I imagined and with my parents there as well, being reminded that my father used to be in the choir when he was younger, I had totally forgotten until I heard him singing, puts me to shame quite easily.

The food for the Slovak Christmas was a sauerkraut soup, and then fish in batter with potatoes, onions, which Z did so very well and made us all very full. The most fun part of the proceedings on Christmas Eve was to watch everyone open their presents. My parents liked their mini gift, thankfully my mother has a good sense of humour. Watching Z open her presents I got her was really great, especially she had a few surprises, things she never expected to get, which just made it all the better. I got very lucky, some very nice clothes and by named brands too - Paul Smith, which is some really nice stuff. It is an advantage to have Z working in Selfridges......

On Christmas Day, I managed with Z to make a lovely English Christmas dinner for everyone, and for once I didn't manage to make a mess of the cooking, so thankfully everyone had nice tasting food, an organic chicken which was very nice. I was surprised how well I managed to get it done, so very happy to make it a couple of days which all those who were there enjoyed.

This Christmas has been a very lovely time and it was so nice to celebrate it with my family and with Z. Maybe in the future I will be lucky enough to have all of my family around at the same time, but who knows. And if you are reading it, the rest of my family, maybe another time, when there is less physical distance between us.

For the rest of the festive season, everyone enjoy. I have shopping to do tomorrow, and see if there is any bargains to grab, not just any old rubbish, stuff we need for the house. So not too much to spend, thankfully. I think my credit card is very sore from this Christmas period, but all worthwhile.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas to all

Well I have finished work for the year and don't have to go back until the 2nd Jan 2007 so that is a relief, time to relax and enjoy a little break.

For the first time ever I am hosting a Christmas get together, and not just one but two. Z encouraged me to host a Christmas get together for my family, well as much of my family as I can as sadly part of my family is thousands of miles away, so part of it won't be with us which is a shame, as I know it would have been lovely to have all of them together tonight and tomorrow.

We are going to have two Christmas celebrations, greedy I know. Going to celebrate it the Slovak way today on Christmas Eve, having Slovak food and doing things the traditional Slovak way, opening presents on Christmas Eve, going to the church during the day on Christmas Eve. Going to be a different way to do things, sadly I can't bring the snow Z is used to at this time of year, but otherwise we are trying to recreate Christmas as much as possible for her the way she has celebrated in the past.

Then on Christmas Day we are going to have the English style food, with a chicken not a turkey, crackers, etc.

So my family will get both celebrations, and I will get to experience what it is like hosting such celebrations. Given my cooking isn't the greatest I am hoping my mother will be on hand a little bit to ensure we at least have something edible for the Christmas Day. I know Z will have no problem ensuring her food is perfect.

To everyone out there, have a wonderful Christmas however you celebrate it, enjoy the company of those close to you, and may 2007 be a wonderful year for all of you.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Petition for English Parliament

For those who have read my blog of recent, you will know I am supporting the campaign for an English Parliament, to give us English a say in our own country, not to let it be run by those who are elected north of the border, who can't have a say in their own countries affairs, but are happy to ruin our England. Examples like Gordon Brown, John Reid, and many other Scottish MPs who remit for their own people is less than it is for us English

Petition for English Parliament

And as the government launched e-Petition and Tony Blair has admitted that the English want their own parliament and government, but is unwilling to give it to us. Nice touch in democracy Tony. Why don't you force through an English Parliament before Gordon comes along and ensure you have a legacy for the English, because we want our own parliament, we want to have control of what is ours. How about it?

For those who believe that England should have its own parliament, sign up, you never know it might actually happen. Worth dreaming

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Britain's borders not sufficiently manned

This was on the news yesterday, and though I shouldn’t be surprised it does surprise me, because not that Britain is so easy to enter, with little work to get in, but also that elsewhere in Europe that it is that simple to get most nations passports, which then are used to allow people who shouldn’t be allowed freedom to travel, the ease to get around without question.

As you can see from the link Britain fails fake passport test it is also suggesting that what we thought were high numbers of Poles coming to the UK, might actually not be the case, it is suggesting that it is more illegal immigrants who posed as Poles.

So as most people already know, we have a serious migration problem in Europe, the borders are all too easy for people to get through and travel around with little to deter them.

Many also make their way to the UK, simply because of the so-called riches in this country. There are still many who think that London’s streets are paved with gold, and that lures them to our city.

I think we as a country should be advertising how things are really in this country, a third rate health system, a third rate transport system in London, housing which you need to earn at least 100K a year to get on the property ladder, employers wanting you to work 50 hours a week, despite what your contract might say, many employers not even paying minimum wage and even if they do, if you can survive in London on that, you will need a miracle.

Europe really needs to sort out its borders and fast, with Bulgaria and Romania joining in 2007, and more expected before 2010, we are going to be overwhelmed by all these illegal immigrants, who do whatever they can do to get passports which are either stolen or fake, and clearly passports that are stolen, should show up on the system immediately across Europe, to ensure that stolen passports can’t be used no matter what. It is a disgrace and really all the countries of Europe are responsible, not just the UK.

An Update: After watching the programme and seeing how easy it was for the reporter to get passports and the quality of some of the passports, it is worrying, very worrying. Europes borders are basically open and easily abused, and despite the claims of the member states that they work with each other, it clearly doesn't happen and as the UK is seen as a soft touch, we end up getting a lot of these people passing through our borders

1st July 2007, an important date for England

For many people in England, this will be a day for cheer, for many it will be a day of sadness and frustration. No it isn’t Tony Blair leaving government, though wouldn’t that be lovely!!

It is the day the smoking ban comes into force in England, and about bloody time as well. It will mean that many can go out at night to places of entertainment – pubs, bars, comedy clubs, etc and not come home stinking of smoke, having a mouth that feels horrid, and their eyes hurting from all the smoke that they had to put up with in the place they were in.

Smoking to be banned in July

England smoke ban to start 1 July

And it isn’t a half way house of places that serve food, it is enclosed spaces, and there is rumblings that Mayor Ken wants to take an even tougher stance for London. On this I will applaud the man. I hope it is pushed so far away, so people can enjoy an air that is a little cleaner. I would have said clean air, but we live in London, and that is going to be a pipe dream.

If he could clean up the Underground, then he really would be on a winner, but as I said pipe dream.

I now can look forward to going out without my clothes stinking to high heaven of smoke, like when I visited the comedy store recently. A suit smelling of smoke isn’t a nice smell, and as I live in a smoke free home, it does really make you feel sick, second hand smoke smell.

Here is to the 1st July 2007 and no more of England being the poor man of the UK

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tonsillectomy update

Well, nearly a week after the operation and I have to say things didn’t quite go as I expected.

In the past couple of days I have had to change the meds, as the co-codamol wasn’t doing the trick in helping to relieve the pain enough so that I could eat and they say the way to recover is to eat, wonderful!!!

So with a change in meds after having to suffer extreme pain especially in my ears for the past few days, one has had a little more success in eating, not much more, just a little more, and I can only hope it gets easier as the week goes on. And I am supposed to be back at work for the 1st December.

My poor Z has taken to the spare room, as my snoring is worse now than it was before, but fingers crossed that is to do with all the rubbish in the back of my throat, plus she is finding the smell quite off putting from my mouth. They really don’t tell you about that, they don’t warn you that you might be able to stop a rhino at 500 yards with your mouth after the operation.

They also don’t warn you that you are going to be sleepy a lot of time, regardless of how much you might think you are sleeping, in my case I am clearly not sleeping. I look like a panda with my eyes, big black rings under them.

One other thing I have found, it is a drastic way to lose weight. I have lost 6kg in just under a week, not a recommended way to lose weight mind, but it is amazing how much weight you can lose by not being able to eat. I just hope I am able to maintain it, though Z did say, she reckoned once I got my taste buds back and my desire for food, it will go on as quickly as it went off. Hopefully I can prove that wrong, be nice not to weight 85kg again, and being less than 80kg is a good feeling even with all the pain in my ears and mouth.

Well hopefully I have turned the corner and the slight increase in food intake will be enough to recover, as they say ‘I have to eat to recover’

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tonsillectomy is done

Well yesterday I had my tonsils removed, all my anxiety all my concerns over and done within 10 minutes. They apparently use a laser these days to remove one’s tonsils.

Yesterday morning at 7.30am I was allowed to go to the ward where I would be staying overnight to recover. During admission as they call it, I had to put on anti-embolism stockings which was a surprise for me, never had to do that before, and Z took great pleasure in taking a picture or two just to show how ridiculous I looked with them on. I know they are to save my health, but it is a new one on me.

By 10.30 am I was allowed to go to have my operation, and the last thing I remember is seeing them put in anaesthetic and at 12pm seeing the clock and thinking my where am I, it took me about another 30 minutes or so to really work out what was happening.

I had a very swollen neck, it is down a bit now, which is a relief. My throat looks an absolute mess, which of course will clear up in the coming weeks, and poor Z will have to suffer my dog breath for a little while. Thankfully they have given me meds, one being a mouthwash which is great news for me.

As Z was seeing her parents off yesterday I didn’t get to wake up and see her there, but she came along later once her parents had gone through security at Stansted, so it was a joy to see her, and have some time with her before visiting hours were over.

It wasn’t an eventful night, other than I felt cold but was sweating a lot, having trouble swallowing and felt like something was stuck at the roof of my mouth, all apparently perfectly normal. I was the only one who didn’t sleep a wink last night, I have now gone about 36 hours without sleep, apparently one side effect of the anaesthetic. Though I am tired now, and will be hitting the bed, maybe just a few hours will help a lot.

Signed off work for two weeks now, so I am sure that won’t go down well with work, but there isn’t much I can do, it was given to me in very clear language – no work for two weeks, got to stay home and not go outside for a week, which is going to be difficult for me, as I certainly don’t like feeling a caged animal. But it is rest and recuperation as they say, so following doctor’s orders and doing what they say.

Will have to go back in 8 weeks for an appointment just to make sure things are better, fingers crossed they will be. So very hoping that is the case.

I am glad I got the operation done, maybe now I will sleep better, and feel more refreshed, I certainly did this morning despite no sleep, though that I know has to be the effects of the anaesthetic.

Hopefully it will also mean that Z gets fewer disturbances at night and isn’t suffering my snoring, one can hope for sure.

Roll on the relaxation and recuperation!!!